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Los Angeles: The River City?

The industrial corridor of the Los Angeles River at the Seventh Street bridge in downtown L.A., as photographed by Lane Barden for his Linear City Portfolio. Image Courtesy of Lane Barden
The industrial corridor of the Los Angeles River at the Seventh Street bridge in downtown L.A., as photographed by Lane Barden for his Linear City Portfolio. Image Courtesy of Lane Barden

Did you know a 51-mile river runs through the city of Los Angeles? It might not be immediately recognizable as a river, but it's there. In a drastic attempt to prevent flooding in the early 1900s, the Army Corps of Engineers essentially turned the entire river into a giant drainage channel by encasing it in concrete. This article, originally posted on Metropolis Magazine, investigates landscape architect Mia Lehrer's vision to remedy the situation by transforming the desolate space into a public greenway, and a celebrated feature of Los Angeles.

From the offices of Los Angeles–based landscape architect Mia Lehrer, located near the western edge of Koreatown, you might not even know that Los Angeles has a river. It’s not visible from here — instead we can see other things L.A. is known for: the Hollywood sign, traffic, billboards, a dense urban grid that runs forever. In fact, unless you are right up against it, you may not see the river at all. In its current form, it sits as the abandoned, Brutalist evidence of the city’s past battles with seasonal flooding, an expedient way to move water quickly to the sea. To many, it’s more like an urban-design crime scene of missed opportunities and missteps, begging to be corrected. If Lehrer has her way, it will be corrected so that Los Angeles, the city with the huge drainage channel, becomes Los Angeles, river city.

Gehry to Design Campus for Non-Profit in Los Angeles Neighborhood

Frank Gehry, renowned for his often enormous public works projects, is turning his attention to something on a smaller scale: a campus for the non-profit organization CII (Children’s Institute Inc.) in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. Perhaps best known for Watts tower, the architecture of Watts is shaped by limited income and the need to deter vandalism. according to the LA Times Gehry’s intervention will hopefully be a tipping point for a neighborhood desperate to change not just its aesthetic but its future. Read the full article about the project here.

Video: Los Angeles from Above

This time-lapse video, entitled "Above LA," is Chris Pritchard's love letter to Los Angeles. Filmed over the course of two years, Pritchard sought out locations to showcase the city in a way people rarely get to see  from above. Some of the views were easy to seek out, while others involved some exploratory hiking and trespassing. He encourages "everyone - lifelong Angelenos, transplants, visitors - to hit the trails, drive the mountain roads, find a reason to get on top of a high-rise. From the basin to the valley, this city offers so many opportunities to rise above and look down. Never stop exploring."

Peter Zumthor & LACMA Unveil Revised Museum Design

Peter Zumthor and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) have revealed a revised design for the museum's $650 million new home on Museum Row in Los Angeles. The new design still features the sinuous glass and grey concrete slab raised a full story off the ground, but under the new proposal part of the museum would bridge Wilshire Boulevard to touch down on what is currently a car park opposite.

The change comes in response to criticisms that the previous design would put the neighboring La Brea Tar Pits at risk, threatening their status as an active paleontological research site and a popular tourist destination. The shape of the new design removes this risk by withdrawing from the boundary with the adjacent tar pits, without compromising on floor space in the museum.

More on the revised design after the break

Render of the view West along Wilshire Boulevard. Image © Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner Render of the view East along Wilshire Boulevard. Image © Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner Model (image taken from model of original design). Image © 2013 Museum Associates / LACMA Model (image taken from model of original design). Image © 2013 Museum Associates / LACMA

2014 Los Angeles Architectural Awards Announced

Hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council, the 44th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards has recognized three dozen of the year’s best architecture and design projects in Greater Los Angeles. From Morphosis' Emerson College to the Los Angeles River project, each recipient has been awarded for their excellence in design, sustainability and community impact. 

The 2013 Los Angeles Architectural Award Winners are...

Competing Utopias: An Experimental Installation of Cold War Modern Design from East and West in One Context

Competing Utopias is a design collision that should never happen. But somehow, in Los Angeles, in 2014, twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it will.

Dutch-Style Streets Come to LA

In the LA neighborhood of Echo Park, Bestor Architecture is bringing a new type of community-friendly, pedestrian-friendly development to the United States. The Blackbirds project is described by Barbara Bestor as introducing "stealth density" to the Echo Park neighborhood, imitating the size and roofline of the surrounding houses but incorporating multiple homes under one roof.

The design looks to the Dutch concept of the 'Woonerf', or living street, to propose a space which favors pedestrians and cyclists over cars, and features landscape design by Mia Lehrer + Associates, creating a communal space around which a 'micro-community' can thrive.

More on the design after the break

Ace Hotel Downtown LA / Commune Design

  • Architects: Commune Design
  • Location: 929 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA
  • Rooms : 180
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Spencer Lowell, Courtesy of Commune Design

Courtesy of Commune Design © Spencer Lowell © Spencer Lowell © Spencer Lowell

From the Desert to the City: An Interview with Wendell Burnette

Since childhood, growing up on a farm outside of Nashville, Wendell Burnette has been inspired by nature; indeed, the amplification of the natural site has highlighted his body of work. In the following question and answer by Guy Horton of Metropolis Magazine, the Pheonix-based architect speaks about memories, inspiration and experience. 

Wendell Burnette’s journey through architecture has taken him from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, where he has designed a type of architecture that resonates with the power of natural surroundings. It has also taken him to one of the world’s fastest growing cities, Phoenix, Arizona, where his practice, Wendell Burnette Architects, is based and where he calls home. More recently it has brought him to Los Angeles where he is the current Nancy M. & Edward D. Fox Urban Design Critic at the USC School of Architecture. He is also Professor of Practice at The Design School at Arizona State University's Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts.

I spoke with Burnette about his approach to architecture, the importance of direct experience, and the meaning behind his current USC studio, “Earth Curvature”.

Manifold House / ANX

  • Architects: ANX
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Architect in Charge: Aaron Neubert
  • Area: 7500.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Courtesy of ANX, Scott Rhea

Courtesy of ANX Courtesy of ANX © Scott Rhea Courtesy of ANX

ARUP Downtown Los Angeles / ZAGO Architecture

  • Architects: ZAGO Architecture
  • Location: 811 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90017, USA
  • Project Team: Andrew Zago, Laura Bouwman, Dale Strong
  • Area: 2500.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Joshua White

© Joshua White © Joshua White © Joshua White © Joshua White

Exhibition: Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture, 1954-1964

Patrons of the A+D Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles may want to consider wearing comfortable socks to view the new exhibit Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture 1954-1964, on display from April 11, 2014, through May 11, 2014. Providing a deeper appreciation for the family heirloom bowling trophy on the fire mantle, the exhibit showcases the architecture of bowling in the 1950s. The retro design style and obsession with the sport of bowling at this time generated a desire for architecturally intriguing bowling centers. 

Dwell on Design Convention To Showcase Modern Living

Dwell on Design, an immersive 3-day design exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 20-22, will feature over 400 exhibitors and 90 presentations on ‘new ideas for modern living.’

ACADIA 2014 Call for Submissions

UPDATE: Deadline for submissions extended to April 14, 2014!

Submissions are invited for the 2014 ACADIA 'DESIGN AGENCY' conference at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California on October 20-25, 2014. Architects, designers, fabricators, engineers, media artists, technologists, software developers, hackers, researchers, students and educators and others in related fields of inquiry are invited to submit proposals.

Emerson College Los Angeles / Morphosis Architects

  • Architects: Morphosis Architects
  • Location: 5960 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
  • Design Director: Thom Mayne
  • Project Principal & Manager: Kim Groves
  • Lead Project Designer: Chandler Ahrens
  • Project Architect: Aaron Ragan
  • Area: 107400.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Iwan Baan

©  Iwan Baan ©  Iwan Baan ©  Iwan Baan ©  Iwan Baan

Deborah Sussman: Breaking the Boundaries Between Architecture & Graphic Design

In this delightful article on Metropolis Magazine, Christopher Hawthorne recounts his meeting with Deborah Sussman, the one-time protégé of Charles and Ray Eames whose work breaks the boundaries between graphic design and architecture. From her collaboration with Frank Gehry to her iconic designs for the 1984 LA Olympics, Sussman has come to define a curiously Californian style. You can read the full article here.

AA Visiting School Los Angeles

The AA Visiting School is a satellite programme of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, and will be taking place in Los Angeles for the first time, from June 16 to June 27. The programme is broken up into research clusters that will be led by individual tutors based on the theme of “Machining Adaptive Living.”

Buzzfeed LA Office / JIDK

  • Architects: JIDK
  • Location: 7323 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
  • Interior Designers: Thomas Jensen, Brigid Björklund
  • Local Architect: MAKE Architecture
  • Area: 8000.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Peter Kubilus, Thomas J Jensen

© Thomas J Jensen © Peter Kubilus © Peter Kubilus © Peter Kubilus